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The fact that Hephaestus was lame is one of the more interesting points of Greek mythology. The main reason why, according to some theorists, is that he was the craftsman of the gods. The word metos, or "craft", in itself has many meanings- on one hand it may refer to skill; on the other, it may mean "guile". Ancient Greeks respected craftsmen, but did not trust them. There was something inherently wrong with the idea of one man with that much, for lack of a better word, talent. Therefore, to break down that image of power, they made Hephaestus, the skilled god, a cripple. While I'm sure Freudians could (and would) go to town on this, I'll leave that up to those of us with a better grasp (real or imagined) on psychology.

(A sidenote on the craft issue: Odysseus is addressed in the Iliad and the Odyssey as polymetos, or, literally, "many-crafted". Most translators, however, give this as "many means". I bring this up only because Odysseus, was, without a doubt, the the most brilliant (not to mention the most shifty) of all the Homeric Heroes. Make of it what you will.)

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